The First Reader and resident curmudgeon offered to do a review since I am at Life, the Universe, and Everything! this weekend and having a blast. He wrote it up, sent it to me, and I read it in a state of shock. I think this is unprecedented. He’s such a stickler, and that he’d say this about a book… Well, I will let you decide for yourselves.
I just finished Skin Game by Jim Butcher. Since it is eligible for a Hugo and is one of those recommended by The Sad Puppies movement it seems like a really good time to review it. I expected to be disappointed by Skin Game, Cold Days was not one of the better books in the series and I thought Butcher was losing his touch because of over familiarity with the series. I also own to being one of those who dislikes long series because of the whole hero becomes superman thing.
I was wrong. Skin Game is easily as good as any of his other books. It starts out slowly compared to his early works but there is more power and more background to bring up to speed. There was one cheat, where Butcher hid something that happened early on to allow for greater impact when the time came. There is a continuation of building the side characters into people who are capable of striding alongside Harry as he walks into the flames. And Harry is developing into an adult.
Let’s face it, Harry Dresden has always been an adolescent trying to find his way into the world of adults and faking it. Something most of us do or did. Now he shows signs of actually becoming one. There are indications that something the fans have been rooting for since book one may happen soon. And some internal growth of Harry as well. His spiritual nature is growing, even if he will never cross the line into becoming the Good Christian many of his companions want him to become he is definitely starting to show himself as a white night and a crusader for more good than just protecting Chicago and its people. In fact, if it were not for the need to include some of his old enemies and allies who are bound to Chicago it would have had little need to be there at all. Harry as the Winter Knight has moved somewhat beyond those bounds.
Final judgement, I was worried that I wouldn’t like this book, now I join the legions eagerly awaiting the next one